Book Reviews

The Everlasting Stream: A True Story of Rabbits, Guns, Friendship and Family by Walt Harrington

Paperback: 240 pages

Publisher: Grove Press (January 14, 2004)
ISBN-10: 0802140505

Walt Harrington is a blue-collar journalist who clawed his way into the circles of the Washington D.C. elite, despite his lack of an Ivy League pedigree.

Through his marriage to an African-American woman, the decidedly urban Harrington is introduced to a cadre of in-laws and their friends who have lived their entire lives in rural Kentucky; miles away and light-years apart from the rarefied air of the beltway.

The catalyst for this account are the times that Harrington gets to spend with these older African American men while hunting rabbits. Hunting is regarded as arcane at best; bloodthirsty and violent at worst; by the author's D.C. associates.

However, Harrington succeeds in weaving a narrative that both entertains and challenges the modern urban dweller's comfortable facade that hunters are unfeeling killers. He invites the reader to witness and perhaps understand that the central issue of the book is not hunting at all - it is building relationships that last a lifetime.

Through shared rituals, the retelling of decades old stories, and overlooking faults, we are allowed insight to a previous generation of Americans who would choose to forgo better jobs to continue to live life among fiends and family, rather than strangers.

Additionally, Harrington chronicles how his own life is re-shaped by the influence of these men over the years. He eventually chooses to leave the rat race, take a pay cut, and learns to live vicariously...through himself.

This is quite a well written book that attempts to bridge the gulf between the cultural norms of modern masculinity and those of men from the greatest generation. A recommended read.